A Little F'd Up | Posted by Julie Z on 05/19/2009

The MileyDisney Generation

Okay, take a deep breath. This post is not about my feelings for Miley Cyrus. I will comment on neither her talent nor her personal life. What I’m going to comment on is the generation that worships at her billion dollar feet.

Interesting personal tidbit: Because I like buying things, I have an after school job. I happen to work at an after school / day care center through the local JCC for kids in the 6th grade and under. I happen to really like this job as my co-workers are all great and the kids generally keep me laughing for most of the time I’m there. Even after the worst day at school, it’s quite therapeutic to have a first grader sit on your lap, braid your hair and just generally be awed by your advanced teenage years. 

The downside, as I’ve recently found: what this generation of girls is turning into.

I had a chat with one of my favorite first graders the other day, while I drew her a picture of a rainbow and two girls (us, I guess) skipping under it. In the abrupt way that 7 year olds have learned to master, she leans towards me and whispers, “[Insert little boy's name here] and I are in love!” 

I sit there for a minute. Is that too inappropriate? She raises her eyebrows. Waaaaaiting. 

“Oh…okay. How did you guys meet?” I venture. 

“We take piano from the same teacher! It was love at first sight!” 

Okay. So I’m not totally surprised. I mean what are Disney movies but hour and a half pieces of propaganda promoting the idea of “falling in love.” Not to mention gross masculinity standards and the occasional racism. 

“Aren’t you a little young?” I ask. “Miley Cyrus has a boyfriend in real life,” she counters. (See, you were wondering how Miley fit in. There it is). 

“Okay, but Miley is 16. You are 6,” I remind her. ”He’s in love with my best friend too. But he says he likes us both the same so it’s okay,” she decides to share. Casually.

Say what? “Say what?” I ask. She’s still smiling. “He’s in love with both of you?” I ask. “And you’re okay with that?” 

“Yes,” she answers, seemingly confused by my confusion. “He loves me just like he loves her.”

I’m trying to figure out if a first grader is really so desperate for a boyfriend that she’s willing to share him with another woman…girl…little kid. 

“You are a strong and independent woman,” I tell her. “You do not need a man to complete you and under no circumstances should you have to share that man with someone else. Equality is where it’s at. Respect yourself.”

“My mom thinks it’s a good thing.”

WHAT??? “WHAT?” 

“My mom gave me a big hug when i told her.”

AHHHHHHHHH WHAAAAAAAAAT? If I had a six year old daughter who was completely preoccupied with falling in love, I would be seriously disturbed, not rewarding her. But then again, it explains why this little girl is always running after the little boy asking “Do you love me more than you did yesterday? Who do you like better, me or [insert little girl's name here]?” She’s obsessed with making sure that she has attention, that somebody loves her.

Is it from Miley Cyrus and the disney tweens? Eh, probably not. I can’t actually blame her for the corruption of the youth just for having a boyfriend at 16 (especially since I’m pretty sure my 6 year old friend isn’t aware of their age difference so that didn’t do anything). Is this from home? Um, apparently.

I guess that’s really my question and the point to this story. Where does stuff like this COME from? She’s just so young…how do these sad ideas get into these little girls’ heads? When do girls stop being girls and start realizing what our society wants them to be? HOW CAN WE STOP IT?

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  • Charlotte @ at 8:47 pm, July 13th, 2009

    I don’t see the conversation as her being obsessed with being in love… I obviously wasn’t present for it, but six year olds are like that. I remember being “in loooooooooove” with a boy when I was six. Sharing him would mean he thought my best friend was just as cool as me, and I would’ve been totally down with that.

  • Brenna @ at 5:03 pm, July 16th, 2009

    I agree with Charlotte, I was usually crushing on a boy when I was that age. I even agreed to share my boyfriend with a girl in second grade, because I didn’t think it was a big deal. But my mom always told me that I didn’t need a man and to do things for myself. She even said she was glad when my second grade boyfriend and I ended things, because she could tell I felt better. I guess a relationship was a little too much stress for me at that age.

  • Ashley @ at 8:39 pm, January 27th, 2012

    I think this is a great article, and it points out how little girls start forming ideas like this at such a young age. Disney probably did have a huge influence on why that little girl needed validation. It might not seem like a big deal when she is so young, but child’s play turns into the life of the adult. Young girls should be pretending they are doctors or astronauts. They should not already feel the need to be dependent on someone else.

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